This collection consists primarily of correspondence with mineralogists., collectors, and museums concerning Shepard's research on meteorites and the acquisition of
specimens for his collection. Also included are notebooks, scrapbooks, catalogues, and lectures of Shepard; specimen lists; and newspaper clippings collected by Shepard mostly
concerning meteorites. A small amount of correspondence of Shepard's son, Charles Upham Shepard, Jr., is contained in the collection, including correspondence with Frank Wigglesworth
Clarke concerning the deposit of the Shepard Meteorite Collection in the USNM in 1886.
Charles Upham Shepard (1804-1886) was a mineralogist and authority on meteorites. Shepard was educated at Amherst College, graduating in 1824. After a short period
as a school teacher in Boston, Shepard went to Yale College in 1827 as assistant to Benjamin Silliman. He remained at Yale until 1844 serving as lecturer in botany, 1830-1831;
director of the Brewster Scientific Institute, 1832-1833; and lecturer in natural history, 1833-1844. In 1844, he became lecturer in natural history at Amherst College, where
he remained until his retirement in 1877. From 1834 to 1869, Shepard served as professor of chemistry at the South Carolina Medical College (a position held concurrently with
his lectureships at Yale and Amherst). Shepard made extensive collections of minerals and meteorites throughout his career. After his death in 1886, his meteorite collection
(the largest in America at the time) was deposited in the United States National Museum (USNM) by his son, Charles Upham Shepard, Jr. The collection was officially bequeathed
to the USNM in 1915.